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(US) Politics and Open Access – Scholarly Kitchen (Robert Harington | December 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on December 18, 2019

Rumors have been circulating in recent weeks of an impending US Executive Order focusing on public access to federally funded research and open data. It appears that there is indeed a document making the rounds of Federal Funding Agencies for comment. The order has apparently been in the works for a while now, emanating from the US Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), which has been tight-lipped about the existence of the order. There seems to be little concern over the fate of non-profit and society publishers. Among the likely recommendations appears to be that of a zero embargo on published journal articles. Essentially, this means that articles from researchers who are federally funded will be freely available immediately following publication.

If you add this to the Plan S initiative from Europe, you may be forgiven for predicting the end of academic publishing as we know it. At the very least you may imagine the forthcoming discussions that will ensue, with hackles raised on all sides and little empathy shown for differing viewpoints.

Here I want to explore the environment. It may be useful to provide insight into what a zero embargo could do to the publishing landscape, as well as how researchers may respond. First though I thought it may be useful to understand exactly how an Executive Order works here in the US, especially for those who may be reading in other parts of the world.

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‘A long and lonely process:’ Whistleblowers in a misconduct case speak out – Retraction Watch (Ivan Oransky | )0

Posted by Admin in on December 16, 2019

Last week, we reported on a case at the University of Leiden in which the institution found that a former psychology researcher there had committed research misconduct. In the anonymized report — which we were able to confirm regarded Lorena Colzato, who is listed as a faculty member at Ruhr University in Bochum and at TU Dresden — the university found a lack of ethics approval for some studies and fabricating results in some grant applications. We asked the three whistleblowers in the case — Bryant Jongkees, Roberta Sellaro, and Laura Steenbergen— to reflect on their experiences. (We should note that they did not confirm it was Colzato named in the report.)

Retraction Watch (RW): What prompted you to come forward?

Bryant Jongkees, Roberta Sellaro, and Laura Steenbergen (BJ, RS, LS): We worked with the accused for many years, during which we observed and felt forced to get involved in several bad research practices. These practices would range from small to large violations. Since early on we were aware that this was not OK or normal, and so we tried to stand up to this person early on.

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(China) Ideological ‘rectification’ hits social sciences research – University World News (Yojana Sharma | December 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on December 15, 2019

Social sciences research in China, not as well funded in the past as the hard sciences, is undergoing an even further narrowing so that research more closely serves the purposes of the state, experts have said, with some going as far as to say social sciences in China have undergone political rectification under Chinese leader Xi Jinping.

As part of China’s control over the intelligentsia, there has been greater focus on moulding the social sciences, including law, economics, political science, sociology and ethnic studies, to be politically correct, according to Carl Minzner, professor of law at Fordham University, New York, and an expert on Chinese law and politics.

“In the past four or five years they [the Chinese leadership] have been in an effort to politically sanitise the social sciences in China,” Minzner told University World News. “They were worried that they had lost control over the narrative, and that there were too many critical voices emerging within university classrooms in China.”

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(China) Five ways China must cultivate research integrity – Nature (Li Tang | November 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on December 14, 2019

A swift increase in scientific productivity has outstripped the country’s ability to promote rigour and curb academic misconduct; it is time to seize solutions.

How researchers in China behave has an impact on the global scientific community. With more than four million researchers, China has more science and technology personnel than any other nation. In 2008, it overtook the United Kingdom in the number of articles indexed in the Web of Science, and now ranks second in the world. In 2018, China published 412,000 papers.

But China also produces a disproportionate number of faked peer reviews and plagiarized or fraudulent publications. Its share of retracted papers is around three times that expected from its scientific output (see ‘Outsized retractions’).

The past few years have witnessed high-profile cases of faked peer reviews, image manipulations and authorships for sale, some involving prominent Chinese scientists. In May last year, China asked two groups to foster research integrity and manage misconduct cases: its Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) . In November 2018, 41 national government agencies endorsed a set of 43 penalties for major academic misconduct. These range from terminating grants to restricting academic promotion and revoking business licences. This year, the government issued a foundational document to promote the scientific enterprise and foster a culture of academic integrity1.

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